Archives for the month of: July, 2012

I just watched Plan B’s TEDx talk. I am full of admiration for him and feel there are a few parallels in my film. Especially the stuff  he says about the riots. It is time we face up to this demonisation of young people and turn it around. It has been going on so long it is ingrained and no wonder so many people can’t see straight, and are so quick to judge. I have worked with and try to keep in touch with some of my local young people, and they don’t feel like “society” cares about them.

Camila Batmanghelidjh said to me during my interview with her:

i think the political world is missing a trick, because it’s continuously described these children and young people at street level in a derogatory way so its referred to them as feral, scroungers, benefit , lazy characters and so on and what that does is that it pushes the child more into a space of shame with this all-powerful all-encompassing leading figure represented by government and the narratives of the media , its seen as having all the power. after a while what will happen is a collective of the powerless will emerge , where they all get together and they all describe the abuse of the powerful, and what we could feel at street level, was actually that the tension was building up and the rage was building up and the kids were saying “the government hates us, they don’t care about us.” what they couldn’t hear from the government is anything about protecting them, had the government said in its narrative, “all children deserve protection and care, we find it unacceptable for children and young people to be in threatening gangs when they should be flourishing and having a sense of safety”, then those kids in gangs would be thinking they are talking about us they want to protect us, so they are on our side, and your chances of then that child pulling away from that gang and joining mainstream society is greater then is you just keep that child in the bad corner, and i think in that sense the government missed a trick.

I hope that Plan B’s work and iLL Manors do something towards changing public attitudes towards young people. And my film too! 😉

check this out too…

i feel compelled to write about why i had to make my film and what i hope it might achieve.

when i got pregnant i was running a small business and spent much of my time working. As my tummy grew i started to take my foot off the peddle and felt a growing desire to experience the process my body was going through. It was an amazing thing, and out of this awe came a deep sense of respect for my body as a woman and for this baby who was growing inside me.

When i eventually gave birth I felt as if i was reborn myself, nothing i had done previously in my entire life even started to compare to the elation of giving birth to this baby. I can look at the photo’s taken at that moment now and feel again the freshness of birth, the feat of birthing, the pain mixed with pure pure joy. the overwhelming love of this immaculate creature.

the next weeks and months are a blur, but what i do remember was listening to the communication my baby was showing me. each cry meant something, and i would spend hours trying to decipher it. i would sometimes be outside and hear other babies crying and feel compelled to pick them up and comfort them, allowing them the release of their emotions and letting them know that their cry did mean something to this wide open space they have now come to inhabit. Imagining the cosy comfort of a womb, and the beauty of always being nourished without having even conceived those feelings of hunger, air, cold, noise, space…

listening to our babies first cries is probably the first way we can start to see them as individuals, begin to understand that they too will grow up and be people just like us one day.

and for me the responsibility sometimes seemed too much to bear, the idea that through our relationship i would help him to become a confident, secure, loved and loving individual. Huge. But each day i would find myself growing with him, allowing him to discover the world around him and being there for him to come back to my warm embrace when his exploring took him out of his comfort zone. My respect for him grew, and in the first year i tried not to lay any boundaries, so that he would be true to his primal instincts without me layering my experiences of the world on top of his, so he became a mini version of me. i found other ways of saying no. He climbed the stairs, we spent hours walking the streets so he could open and close every gate. i found a way of being able to respond to his cries of pain in a way that didn’t communicate my feelings of worry to him. our love affair grew and grew, and continues to grow and i learned to respect him as a human being.

Respecting our babies and children means listening to them, means not lying to them, means finding strategies to help them to form boundaries, means not hitting them, not punishing them, not feeding them a load of junk that has huge health implications for them in the future. I made my film in order to address these issues, to help other mothers out there to listen to their own instincts and find their own way with their babies. But most of all to give our babies a sense of ease in the world, to feel they do have a voice, and it is as important as any other.

we are all equal.

we need to realise this and believe it.

we can do anything, we just need to trust ourselves.

our babies arrive in moments of passion and pleasure – lest we forget

this is human. this is life. respect it.

Today as I was walking along minding my own business a man stopped me and said “is there a baby in there? On your back?” To which i replied smiling – “yes.” He then said “can it… breathe?”

I am posting about this as it is the second time it has happened and twice from men, and it has left me feeling really annoyed and frustrated. I don’t understand why it is anyone’s business to start with, and think surely they should be stepping in when someone is physically assaulting their child rather than wearing them in a sling! It’s an ergo sling too, and that is worse as it looks like a backpack – totally breathable!

Anyway saw this picture, which cheered me up!

I can’t help but be fascinated in why the latest BBC film The riots in their own words was pulled last minute from it’s scheduled broadcast last night. It seems a court order is to blame and we know not who from…

So I wanted to have a look at the evidence that LSE and the Guardian compiled from an amazing team of researchers, and came across these films that I have posted here. My favourite is at this link:

Reading the Riots: ‘It was a war, and we had the police scared’

What is coming through, and something that I observed when I worked with a number of local young people, is that there is widespread fear and dislike of the police. Many are quoted as saying “it was revenge against the police”. Is this why the programme was not aired? Would it incite people? Surely by withholding it there will be a huge amount more people wanting to see it?

 

I have just watched a programme on BBC2 called Babies in the Office. It is about a company in the UK called Addison Lee allowing their staff to bring their babies to work in order to save money on the ridiculous expense of childcare, and to integrate work and home life more efficiently.

It was fascinating viewing and a lot of the issues raised are dealt with in my film Babyhood. In fact, I took my baby to work with me while I filmed the interviews with the contributors for Babyhood, and mostly I managed to time it that my son had a nap, but if that didn’t work you can hear him in the background! It really made me adjust my behaviour accordingly. I slowed my approach down, made decisions about what was important and what really didn’t matter, and generally lived balancing them both – my desire to create a film and his needs as an 17month old baby…It was hard, but no harder than finding ways to occupy a baby anyway, ask any stay-at-home mum…

What i think it highlighted was the need for community to come together to help families look after their babies. Sarah Hrdy who wrote a book called Mothers and Others argues about the importance of co-operative childcare in our evolution (the biological term being “alloparental care” – childcare beyond mother and father). Just watching the office scene’s there is already an amazing amount of support for the mothers and children from their colleagues. We need to live in a society that embraces all aspects of life, not compartmentalizing each element. No wonder first time mothers feel so isolated.

The programme also told us that this is something that is already being done in the US, and is a growing trend. It seems as if there is a zeitgeist building, and gathering momentum which gives me a great deal of faith in human spirit.

Well done addison lee! It makes me like you more as a company! I will definitely use you in the future now! Well done for piloting it and i hope a few more UK companies will adopt it’s policies.

Here is an article from the BBC about eight other solutions to our childcare issues – have a read…

BBC News – Eight radical solutions to the childcare issue.

by cecile grant

When you crave stillness and peace, and can find a few minutes to sit quietly, try this meditation.

Breathe in light

Breathe out fear

Breathe in hope

Breathe out worry

Breathe in a spirit of adventure

Breathe out perfectionism

Breathe in admiration of the “other” mothers

Breathe out jealousy and envy

Breathe in self-care and taking time for  spiritual growth

Breathe out guilt

Breathe in peace

Breathe out constant busyness

Breathe in a loving partnership

Breathe out pettiness

Breathe in being here now

Breathe out distractions

Repeat until any and all negative feelings are released. And then:

Inhale love

Exhale peace

Inhale love

Exhale peace

Inhale light

Exhale light

Inhale love

Exhale love

Inhale peace

Exhale peace

 

Just wanted to share this beautiful poem by Khalil Gibran…

Children

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, ‘Speak to us of Children.’

And he said:

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;

For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

If you live in London, come along to this screening and Q&A on 25th July 2012

Hope to see you there!

 

This word is so loaded.

And so important.

I bumped into a friend today who is a Family Therapist and she has just watched the film, and she said she agreed with it…all of it. Her training taught her many of the things expressed in the film.

Especially with attachment theory.

What she said then has been food for thought for me for the last few hours.

When Suzanne Zeedyk talks about learning to calm down in the film, she explains that as adults we need to help our children calm down when they are upset. They need us to love them no matter how difficult they are being (and as a mother of a toddler – that can be monstrously difficult at times).

And it is in these exchanges, when they are most upset that the attachment bond forms. Not in the easy nice times that are so …easy.

It is when your child is pushing you off the edge of a cliff that they are learning about attachment…(and so are you!)

Fascinating huh?

Last night after the screening someone commented on the film, and I want to share it:

Wonderful film. I love how the emotional needs of children were highlighted so simply – finally attachment parenting is described as it should be – like a unique dance, not based on a set of practices but about honoring the needs of parent AND child.

“A unique dance” – what a wonderful way of describing it.

Check out the comments from the people who watched the live screening here :

https://www.facebook.com/OurMuddyBoots

It was a great pleasure to take part. I have attached a picture which I think sums it up…! Although I am not endorsing blackberry!!